Table of Contents
by Alejandro Conty Estevez, Chris Williamson, Johnny Matthews.
Relevant to Blender v2.31
by Alejandro Conty Estevez,
By the time I started working with YafRay, I was checking out some blender exporters like BMRT and Lightflow. While I was writing some exporting and shading code, I began to be interested in how a raytracer could be written. So when the exams season was in full swing, I became bored (as weird as it may sound) and began to write the main program structure. Once I got a few test renders, I put it off for a year, till the next summer. Then, I wrote the XML loader and YafRay, called "noname" by that moment, began to be an usable program.
Alfredo joined the development almost at the same time. That was of great help. A month later a lot of necessary stuff, like acceleration, were finished and Alfredo ported a lot of his code to YafRay. As the famous hemilight.
Then Luis Fernando Ruiz, a friend of mine and classmate joined to give us a good web site. So we said good bye to that boring plain text web site. We also had the chance to see YafRay rendering on several computers concurrently when Luciano Campal wrote his hack to make YafRay able to work in a distributed way thanks to mosix. It was very exciting when we got access to a 20 computers room for testing. Things started to look very promising when Andrea came with Yable. An experimental export script for an experimental renderer that resulted in a very long thread of cool images at elYsiun. We saw the first nice images done with blender and rendered with YafRay thanks to him.
We didn't expect that boom. Neither Alfredo nor me. Of course it was the cool export script what was catching people, exporting easily from blender to a raytracer. We got very excited with all that support from the community. I still get impressed by what people can do with a simple tool like this.
Now more people are getting involved and helping. We begin to have a good documentation section and resources, most of which have been written by Chris Williamson. Basically, it's what you'll see in this chapter. But he is not the only one. YafRay is also getting very easy to use from blender thanks to Johnny Matthews. I think he spends almost every minute writing Extractor: a new export script for blender. It makes the exporting much more easy by getting all the data directly from blender with nearly no user interaction.
The current power of Extractor and its fast development point out that this could be the future official export scheme for exporting from blender. Anyway, efforts are being made to write a built-in exporter in blender. Alfredo contributed with a lot of shading compatibility code and did some experiments. So it seems we will be able to compare both python and built-in solutions at some point.
YafRay started as an experiment and still is. It's not finished and lacks a lot of features if you compare it with other render engines. I always think is not good enough and that it is hard to imagine what do people see in it. Since people like it for some reason, we now want to really convert it into a full rendering engine that deserves to be called "renderer". This will take some time to have fun coding. We want to add what YafRay lacks (particles, effects, etc...) and to improve global illumination. But only Alfredo De Greef and me are coding YafRay right now, so in order to keep the development up to an acceptable rate, we should get more people to code, more developers. I hope this happens sooner or later.
Finally, I want to thank all the blender community that supported this project. All those beautiful pictures are what really bring people to YafRay. Likewise, thanks to all the people who give ideas and thoughts on the forums to improve YafRay, and to Juan David G. Cobas for his very appreciated math support.